Winter Travel with Marine Atlantic

Winters in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia can be unpredictable. From heavy snow to strong winds, the east coast of Canada can be hit with incredibly harsh winter conditions. These conditions sometimes make it difficult for our operations to run as planned. Marine Atlantic is committed to providing a safe service to our passengers and employees, which means our crossings may be cancelled or delayed when adverse weather systems approach. While it’s difficult to plan for delays and cancellations, it’s important to be prepared in case your plans are disrupted. Here are a few tips and tricks on how you can prepare for your crossing this winter. 

1. Stay Social

When we have cancellations in our service, we share the news as soon as possible with our customers. Our website and Twitter accounts are updated regularly and are the best places to find any schedule changes. 

2. Prepare for the Worst

Sometimes Mother Nature is not on our side, which means that delays and cancellations can put a damper on your plans. While travelling during the winter, make sure you have a backup plan to be prepared for any potential delays or cancellations. Learn about accommodations and dining options in the area so you can be well-rested and fed while waiting for your travels. Plus, you’ll get the chance to experience our wonderful port communities.

3. Plan your Route

While our vessels are designed to travel in all weather conditions, the same might not be said for your vehicle. Though you may want to take the scenic route, it’s important to remember that the road less travelled may be the road that’s more dangerous during winter conditions. While planning your route, make sure to stay on main roads that are better maintained and well lit. It’s also important to make sure that your vehicle is ready for winter conditions by using snow tires and having your emergency kit stocked. 

4. The Waiting Game

Sometimes our vessels may be delayed due to adverse conditions. For more information on how we make sailing decisions during poor weather conditions, see the information here. If you do experience a delay, it’s always a good idea to have snacks and activities available. For your use, our terminal buildings offer free Wi-Fi. 

5. Ask for Support

Have a question about a delay or a cancelled crossing? Our Reservations and Customer Relations teams are here to help. They can provide you with the information and support you need while sorting your travel. 

While it’s important to be prepared for changes in your travel plans this winter, it’s even more important to make sure you’re safe while driving in these conditions. Install winter tires on your vehicle, use strong wiper blades, prepare a fully stocked emergency kit, and have knowledge of the roads and routes you’ll be using. If conditions are ever dangerous or you feel uncomfortable driving, delay your travel for a day or two to allow the system to pass. 

Safe travels!